On the porch of a mammoth house, Sergeant Anabelle Sanders gave the nod to the Hidden Cove fire department.
“Everybody back.” Captain Nick Evans of the HCFD hefted the battering ram and drilled it into the front entrance. The wood splintered and the door flew open.
Three police officers rushed inside the front as two cops headed to the back with Evans.
The owner wielded a gun at them from three feet away.
“Put the gun down, Mr. Littman,” Anabelle ordered.
“She’s a fuckin’ whore.”
“Mr. Littman, you’re surrounded by police and firefighters outside.” Sanders didn’t call attention to T.J. Masters, who’d gone to stand front of the victim, arms out, to protect her.
Littman picked up a huge vase and hurled it at the police.
Buck Brolin tried to dodge it but the vase hit him square in the chest. He stumbled backward.
Gideon Casella and Radford appeared from the back and they crept up behind Littman. Before the guy knew they were there, Casella raised the ram and hit him square on the back. As Littman dropped, the gun clattered onto the wood of the floor. Radford grabbed it. Casella yanked Littman’s arms behind his back. “Stay down.”
“All clear,” Anabelle said into the radio. “Send in the officers to take Littman.”
A social worker and EMT hurried in first and over to the victim. They helped Mrs. Littman out of the house.
Officers strode in behind and over to Littman, who was groggy and out of it. They carted him away.
Anabelle looked around. Not too shabby for the first call for the Major Incidents Task Force she now led. “Let’s gather outside,” she said to her colleagues still inside.
From the side of their vehicles, they watched the social worker lead Mrs. Littman to the EMT truck. She’d accompany her to the police station if the woman didn’t need to go to the hospital.
“Good job, all. You worked together like a well-oiled machine.”
They mumbled their agreement, and added grumbles about abusers.
“We’ll go back to the precinct and debrief.” She scanned the four of them. “Casella, ride with me. You two go with TJ.”
They got in their respective cars and headed out.
Gideon didn’t say anything as they drove. He’d been trying to adjust to the task force, reboot his relationship with Anabelle, and do the hard work of training for the task force.
“It went well,” Anabelle said. “You used just the right amount of force on Littman.”
“Yeah. Nick Evans did a great as the firefighter on call.”
“He’s a brave guy.”
Gideon didn’t say more.
Finally, she asked, “How’s your back?”
“Healed from rest and stretching. Only a twinge now and then?”
Another silence. Then, “You doing okay with all this, Gid?”
“You can call it what it is, Anabelle. You got the promotion, you’re my boss. I’d rather be leading this task force, but it is what it is.”
“Look, I know you getting hurt in the car crash took you out of the running.”
“Yeah. But I’m still not in charge.”
“Hell, Gideon. Why’d you accept the position? You could have stayed in your old job.” Her tone was exasperated.
“Because only a fool pass on being in the elite Major Incidents task force.” He quoted the press’s description of them. “Would you have passed if I got it?”
“I’m trying. I’ll keep trying. Eventually I’ll adjust.” Like he did to his divorce and being a solo parent to his kids. In a surprise to everyone, Lisa, his ex, got a job in London and signed temporary full custody of the kids over to Gideon. He also got his house back.
“I heard your ex left town for Europe.”
“Out of the blue. She never told me she might do that. The kids are upset—I don’t blame them—and we’re all just trying to adjust to our new circumstances.”
“Tough for kids. You have them full time.”
“Which I’m grateful for.”
“Who’s watching them tonight?”
“The whole family’s taking turns. Seth and Julianne are on the night shift.”
“It’s great that you have so much help.”
“Do you have an extended family, Anabelle?”
“I have three brothers, but they don’t live in Hidden Cove. Actually, I’m closer to my ex’s family.”
They swerved into the police station just ahead of the others. They all exited cars, ending his talk with Anabelle.
Which was a blessing. He couldn’t get close to this woman again and they both knew it.